Reference Work Entry

Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers

pp 1158-1161


Kapteyn, Jacobus Cornelius

  • Adriaan BlaauwAffiliated with 

BornBarneveld, the Netherlands, 19 January 1851

DiedAmsterdam, the Netherlands, 18 June 1922

Kapteyn, Jacobus Cornelius. Courtesy of Kapteyn Astronomical Institute of the University of Groningen, The Netherlands

Dutch astronomer Jacobus Kapteyn made his most important contributions to the study of stellar statistics, i.e., the determination of the numbers and types of stars in different parts of space and their motions. His name is attached to the Kapteyn selected areas (particular directions in the sky that are informative for studying stellar statistics) and to the so-called Kapteyn universe (his reconstruction of the stellar distribution, which put the Sun very near the center of a rather small galaxy). The former are still used.

Kapteyn was the son of Gerrit J. and Elisabeth C. (née Koomans) Kapteyn, who conducted a school for boys. Jacobus married Catharina Elise Kalshoven. They had a son and two daughters, one of whom married Ejnar Hertzsprung. At the age of 16, Kapteyn passed the en ...

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